Sure enough..... I have procrastinated to the point of having to entitle this blog with an added intro. The majority of this entry was written while I was still home in Tucson for a whole month. It was a true breathe of fresh air to come back to the great desert lands! I spent some great time with my grandparents and parents, got to stop in for a great service at Southside Presbyterian, and went camping and trips to the farm with my girlfriend Laurel. It was a perfect set up because my best friend Zach had just come back into town after finishing college in Virginia. Shout out to my gal Laurel and my main man Z, you guys are up to some awesome stuff for the community of Tucson, grace and peace to you always, I love you both so much! Not to mention I had a fantastic weekend catching up with my older brother Jovon on a trip to san diego with our folks. And of course the wonderful new phoenix extension of the Grossi family; Nick, Lisa, Maryana, and Alfred spent several thursday nights at the parents house, and tagged along on friday morning taking Maryana to school. We are not a perfect family by any means, and sometimes things do get rough. But there is a whole lot of love in this family and I am blessed to have all of them. I love you all so much and can't wait to be reunites for Christmas! Anyways... with all the fun behind here it a recap of some things I was meditating on while back home....
Well, once again... here I am righting a blog post a month after the last one! Two debrief on some new events, first off, I finished my first year as a YAV in New Orleans pretty well. We had a great final retreat in Gulf Port, Mississippi where we did some reflecting on the goals we had made earlier on in the year. It was a great time to finish with these 6 people who I spent a year living with. I will miss and love always my dear YAV family of 2014 blessings to you Bennet Alldredge, John Kupar, Katherine Norwood, Hannah Mills, Colleen Ames, and Jennifer Hallberg. I wish the best to you in your new adventures, so much in store for all us! Thank you for all the support, patience, wisdom, quality time, and great house company!
Well I don't know if I have made this official, but I signed up for another year, yeah you may already know that, but here it is just in case; I will continue running the J.W. Johnson Community Garden and furthering the community network of local resident who want to be committing to this project. In a change of pace, I will also being working alongside of Bayou Blue Presbyterian to give Wetlands Conservation presentations to volunteers who come to work with Project Homecoming. It will be a nice switch up, and it'll be great to get a little more personal understanding of the history, current issues, and events surrounding the Wet Lands and their relationship to New Orleans and southern Louisiana.
I am excited for the next year; set up new goals for the new year and get ready for surprises, challenges, and some great adventures in learning from myself and the people I will be working with. Lately I have been meditating on the reality of what makes for a healthy, meaningful work. It is my opinion that a good dose of challenge itself is on the path of a healthy growth in the work environment. But it must be a challenge that is stretching each of us in ways that are beneficial and supportive, not oppressive or depleting. There is a big difference between work that is abusive and work that takes us out of our comfort zone from time to time.
My comfort zone is being on people's good side. I often am faced with this very irrational mindset that assumes if I show an assertive or confident behavior in a project that it will lead to failure or worse disappointing people who I respect. There are several components of this unrealistic thinking that I plan on debunking this year. One of which, it this, it is not my job to be a people pleaser. First off, I am setting myself up for failure no if the success is based on meeting other people's standards. And pleasure that comes to both me and to anyone else I am working with is a direct product of respect, love, and support. It is a true privilege to see work not only as a means to an end, but a means to a healthy lifestyle filled with confidence, satisfication and joy.
A mentor of mine gave me some advice when we were talking about vocational discernment one day. I had mentioned that I wanted to make sure I was doing good work in the world no matter the job. He told me, " I think the better thing to think about is not what you need to do for the world, but rather what are you truly passion about. Because I believe what the world needs is more passionate people.". This is a very refreshing perspective to hold, that at the time I really needed to hear and even to this day struggle to remember. So now when I begin to get overwhelmed by all the problems in society, I tend to refocus the priority on my personal passions in life, what brings me joy and challenges me to grow.
The garden is a fantastic class room for all these things in my experience. Sure there is a whole lot of hot, uncomfortable, and very monotonous tasks like picking weeds or turning compost. But the process of seeing the seed of labor and care create actual nutrition that gives us fresh energy to go out in the world often times just seems like a magic trick that I can never get enough of. And I am passionate about spreading this magic to all who are interested, no matter how old these tricks get! Looking forward to this upcoming year, thanks to everyone for the prayers, positive thinking, and support! Grace and Peace!